Anthony Elanga makes senior debut
Anthony Elanga makes his first Manchester United senior appearance in our Premier League clash with Leicester City.
The Swedish 19-year-old is starting in the Reds attack in what will be his maiden match for United's first team, aside from the pre-season friendly with Aston Villa. Our no. 56 has featured on the bench for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men recently and is given his debut by his fellow Scandinavian on Tuesday evening.
The manager believes Elanga is ready to make his mark.
“Yes, definitely,” Ole said.
“He has trained really well and you've seen him in the Under-23s. He's been very, very good. Unfortunately, he's had a couple of injuries that have hampered him a little bit but he's ready. His directness, pace and attitude, work-rate, everything, so I'm looking forward to seeing him.”
The attacker has worked his way through the ranks in United's Academy to the first-team squad, showcasing his creativity, ball control, finishing ability and blistering pace in the process. He was rewarded with a new long-term contract at the club
Ahead of his maiden Reds start, here are five interesting facts about the debut man...
Anthony plays his international football for Sweden and has represented them at various under-age levels. In 2019, he played in the Under-17 European Championship and scored twice against France, while also coming up against England defender and club team-mate Teden Mengi.
“It is one of the best tournaments I've been to,” he told us at the time.
“It's always an honour representing my country. I played up front for Sweden and they gave me something of a free role.”
He'll hope to earn full honours with the Scandinavian nation in the future.
The young attacker was born in Hyllie, in Sweden, in 2002, when his father Joseph was playing for Malmo. Joseph earned 17 international caps for Cameroon and was part of their World Cup squad in 1998. Unlike his son, Joseph was a defender and he also spent time with the likes of PAOK, Apollon Kalamarias and Brondby.
“My work ethic has come from my family,” explained Anthony.
“They have always wanted to push me.”
AN AWARD WINNER
The lightning-quick prospect is the reigning Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year, after picking up his award during the pre-season training with the Under-23s at The Cliff, due to the COVID-19 restrictions surrounding the Aon Training Complex at the time.
“It’s a special award to win,” he said of the Academy honour.
“When you look at the names who have won it before like Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood] and, early on, Ryan Giggs.”
He succeeded Greenwood in terms of getting his hand on the prize and became the first Scandinavian to win it since Mats Daehli in 2011/12.
Many of the Academy players forwarded Anthony as the main man when it came to the 10k runs they were doing during the first lockdown. Some suggested his times were pretty sensational and it showed when football resumed for the Under-23s last year.
“I feel the stats tell a lot and I have come back a lot stronger and a lot quicker, even more than I expected, to be fair,” he told us.
“Obviously, I put the work in during lockdown, though, and I am happy it has paid off.”
WHAT SORT OF PLAYER IS HE?
Under-23s lead coach Neil Wood had his say on one of his key men after the winger was injured in the Premier League 2 match against Leicester City in January.
“It was a shame as I think it was a heavy tackle on Anthony and, up until that point, he was playing really well. I said to him at half-time it looked like he was playing professionally, moving the ball quick, playing inside, linking up and running in behind. He was looking a big threat for us and on top of his game.”
Often operating on the left but with the ability to cut inside, he causes problems for defenders and is capable of finishing off chances after using his pace to get through. One of his best performances this term came in the 6-0 win over Salford City in the Papa John's Trophy. He scored twice in his last Under-23s outing, the 6-2 win at Derby County in the penultimate Premier League 2 game of the campaign.
United's encounter with Leicester kicks off at 18:00 BST and you can follow the action in our Official App as well as tune into our pre-match show, match commentary and post-match analysis on MUTV.